Brian Leiter has asked who that was in the train of the New York Times declaring that it was Wittgenstein.So far, Russell is leading. Russell? My goodness, he was important but hardly the best – most read more than best, I suspect. Moore was better than Russell. As to the other leading contenders, both Quine and Rawls are good candidates, although they are recalled for rather different things. Rawls had perhaps more influence on public life than anyone, but Quine influenced generations of metaphysics and epistemology philosophers.
So in tandem, and in the comments, what was the best philosophy book of the twentieth century? I think it was Über Gewißheit by Wittgenstein, but I know I’m in the minority there.
Later: Wittgenstein is back in play, with David Lewis catching up. That must be an artifact of the analytic philosophers waking up in the US and reading their blogs… I mean, I liked Lewis a lot, but I think he’s not so original nor progressive as Ludwig. [Modal realism is a category error I think.]